University World News Global Edition
21 July 2013 Issue 0281 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
HE internationalisation – Is idealism risky? Is English the best route?

In World Blog, Hans de Wit worries that some countries are being overly idealistic about higher education internationalisation, and suggests a more realistic approach. In Commentary, Rosemary Salomone argues that recent cases in France and Italy show offering courses in English is not always an easy route to internationalisation.
Goolam Mohamedbhai describes a workshop that brought nine African nations and four emerging economic powers together to create a Partnership in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology – PASET. Cong Cao argues that a culture change is needed if China is to counter its academic brain drain, and Tomoaki Wada contends that more Japanese PhD graduates need experience abroad, as this increases their research productivity and citations.
In the centenary year of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Tamson Pietsch charts the history of the Empire and higher education internationalisation.
As Nelson Mandela fights for his life, in Student View Kitso Rantao considers lessons South African students can learn from young Mandela’s determined pursuit of higher education – and how he used his degree to liberate a country.
In a Q&A, Yojana Sharma interviews Nobel laureate and Harvard professor Amartya Sen on Nalanda International University, which is to be built on the site of the ancient Buddhist institution.
In Features, Ameen Amjad Khan reports on attacks against schoolgirls and women teachers in Pakistan, and Peta Lee unpacks a new study from the European Commission on cross-border higher education. Wachira Kigotho finds that student demand in East Africa has opened up distance education opportunities for universities, and Maina Waruru looks at India’s growing presence in higher education across Africa.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
University World News is taking a northern hemisphere summer break for the next three weeks. However, in the interim our website will be updated and a Special Report will be sent to all readers.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Geoff Maslen

More Australians are attending university than at any time in the past 150 years, but most now struggle to live on incomes that are below the poverty line while their levels of debt have soared by almost 30% in the past six years. Many students graduate owing so much money that it will take years to repay and leave them facing a life without ever owning a home.
Jane Marshall

Student unions in France have welcomed the announcement of a reformed system of student benefits – including a substantial increase in grants – costing an extra €318 million (US$417 million) for the next two years, starting from the new university year in September.
Emilia Tan and Yojana Sharma

When the Malaysian government announced the allocation of seats at public universities this month, it sparked uproar among ethnic Chinese and Indians. Only 19% of places were awarded to Chinese and 4% to Indian students – and even some with the highest exam scores failed to gain a place on their preferred course.
Ashraf Khaled

Gripped by turmoil in the wake of the army’s overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt last week installed an interim government composed mainly of liberal technocrats but also including academics.
Hiep Pham

In a landmark decision that overrides previous massification policies, Vietnam is to slow the expansion of higher education between now and at least 2020, according to a new universities and colleges planning document signed by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan.
Naw Say Phaw Waa

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has taken up the case of former political prisoners released under presidential amnesties in 2011 and 2012, who have still not been able to secure government permission to resume university studies. A number of political prisoners were students at the time they were jailed.
Makki Marseilles

Thirty-one students at Athens University were arrested by shield-carrying riot police who had been called in by the institution’s governing board when a meeting – dealing with provisions in the Education Ministry’s Athina Plan for university reform – was disrupted.
Michael Gardner

The majority of students in Germany appear to be studying the subjects of their choice at the institutions they have chosen, according to a survey commissioned by the education ministry.
Gilbert Nganga

In a small shop on downtown Nairobi’s River Road, Stephen Njoroge goes through a pile of bound documents on a shelf above his photocopying machine. A smartly dressed, middle-aged man, an executive with a Kenyan oil marketing company, is waiting at the door. He is there to collect a masters thesis, which he has paid Njoroge US$705 to write.
Ishmael Tongai

A vastly improved scheme that provides free access to African research will be launched by South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom on 22 July. The scholarly platform became a full family member of the SciELO Network Global Portal three months ago.
Tunde Fatunde

The proprietors of private universities in Nigeria are clamouring for financial support from the federal and state governments. They argue that they are playing an identical role to public universities in producing much-needed skills for the country, and thus deserve state funding.

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard and former master of Trinity College, Cambridge, was last year appointed as the first chancellor of the proposed Nalanda International University on the site of the ancient Buddhist institution. YOJANA SHARMA spoke to him about the project located in India’s impoverished Bihar state not far from Bodh Gaya, where Buddha is said to have received enlightenment.
Ameen Amjad Khan

“The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them. This is why they killed 14 innocent students in the recent attack in Quetta,” said Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in her special speech to the United Nations Youth Assembly on 12 July – her birthday, declared as Malala Day.
Peta Lee

A new study from the European Commission has revealed that cross-border higher education affects a small but growing number of students. Countries receiving high levels of cross-border provision also have high levels of outgoing student mobility – suggesting that opportunities are created “where the kind or quantity of support of higher education domestically does not meet demand”.
Wachira Kigotho

The increasing demand for access to higher education in East African countries has opened opportunities for universities to develop robust distance education programmes, according to University of Nairobi Vice-chancellor Professor George Magoha.
Maina Waruru

The fruits of a conference held in Delhi in 2008, hosted by the Indian government and attended by African heads of state, are beginning to ripen – perhaps more in the field of higher education than in any other area of cooperation. The Asian country is setting up a string of institutes and collaborations across Africa.
Marc Parry, Kelly Field and Beckie Supiano, The Chronicle of Higher Education

In Bill and Melinda Gates' vision for higher education, more students will get a college experience similar to Terry Crosgrove's. Each morning, Crosgrove clocks in for the 05h30 shift packaging Slim Jims at a ConAgra plant in Troy, Ohio. On days off, he chips away at an associate degree offered through an experimental online programme at Southern New Hampshire University.
Hans de Wit

Some countries have an overly idealistic view of internationalisation, and could benefit from a more focused, realistic approach and from looking at the experience of others who have gone before them.
Rosemary Salomone

Two recent cases in Europe – one in France and one in Italy – give food for thought for those who see offering courses in English as an easy route to internationalisation. Without proper preparation, such a move could damage the quality and nature of courses on offer.
Goolam Mohamedbhai

A workshop held in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on 8-10 July brought together high-level representatives from nine African countries and four emerging economic powers – China, Korea, India and Brazil. It was aimed at creating a major, multi-country Partnership in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology – PASET.
Cong Cao

The success of China's efforts to stem the brain drain will be judged not on numbers of returnees but on whether it can create a new research culture in which all scientists, whether trained overseas or at home, have the opportunity to demonstrate their value.
Tomoaki Wada

Surveys of Japanese doctoral graduates show a need for more young researchers to gain some experience working abroad as this has been proven to increase their productivity and research citations.
Tamson Pietsch

In the centenary year of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, it is important to look back and understand the roots of much of today's internationalisation of higher education, given that practices first established in the late 19th century helped to create the uneven lines of global connection and irregular geographies of access that continue to condition higher education today.
Kitso Rantao

As a young South African, I have asked myself a somewhat odd question: Who is Nelson Mandela? In history I have been taught that he was the first black president of democratic South Africa, a martyr who was imprisoned for 27 years, a Nobel peace prize winner – among many other accolades for his great political reform.

As one of your more mature readers I welcome Philip Altbach’s commentary of 30 June on the demise of UNESCO’s and OECD’s commitment to higher education policy matters and debate. His well-chosen words in firing carefully aimed bullets I sincerely hope will be a wake-up call to those two important agencies that have, as Philip says, “largely left the field of higher education, creating a considerable vacuum”.

All babies can recognise the familiar faces of their mother and father but at what age do we start to realise they look different to everyone else? A study by Australian scientists found that children as young as four already possess this talent.

An international team of scientists has discovered the reasons why some of the world’s iconic mountain ranges are still there – despite landslides and erosion caused by fast-flowing rivers supposedly eating them down.

Birds that develop the ability to eavesdrop on their neighbours may have the edge when it comes to finding food and expanding their habitat, according to a new study.

Comprehensive mapping of the human brain epigenome by researchers has uncovered large-scale changes that take place during the formation of brain circuitry. The ground-breaking research offers an unprecedented view of the epigenome during brain development with high-resolution mapping uncovering unique patterns that emerge during childhood.

An anti-malarial compound believed to be more potent than chloroquine or artemisinin won the Project of the Year award at the University of Cape Town. The new compound MMV390048, which received an award from the Medicines for Malaria Venture, was developed by scientists from the university and has the potential to become part of a single-dose cure for malaria.
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America’s research universities, among the most open and robust centres of information exchange in the world, are increasingly coming under cyberattack, most of it thought to be from China, with millions of hacking attempts weekly, writes Richard Pérez-Pena for The New York Times.

Australia’s new Higher Education Minister Kim Carr has taken the unusual step of asking university vice-chancellors to come up with alternative savings to cover A$2.3 billion (US$2.11 billion) in cuts the sector wants reversed, writes Daniel Hurst for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Police will replace private security firms in universities, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced as a response to the Gezi Park protests, which have particularly been led by university students, reports Hurriyet Daily News.

Syria's Aleppo University has stripped Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of an honorary doctorate, citing his support for Syrian rebels and crackdown on Turkish protesters, reports Middle East Online.

Seven leading Indian institutes of technology, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant and industry lobby Nasscom are coming together to launch free, online courses that could potentially help 100,000 to 150,000 people a year get high quality education and make them job-ready, writes Rica Bhattacharyya for The Economic Times.

Tujiza Uwituze worked hard and ranked near the top of her class in her Rwandan secondary school, but her education was poor by international standards. She lives with a great-uncle in Kigali and has US$75 in savings. Despite hard work and an intense desire to succeed, her dreams appeared out of reach – and might have been if not for an innovative project that could radically change her life, writes Jeffrey Bartholet for Scientific American.

Thousands of international students planning to study in Canada might not be there when classes start in September because of a slowdown in processing visa applications outside the country, reports CBC News.

Thailand's premier university has apologised for displaying a billboard that showed Adolf Hitler alongside Superman and other superheroes, saying last week that it was painted by ignorant students who did not realise Hitler's image would offend anyone, writes Jocelyn Gecker for Associated Press.

The Croatian government is developing plans to significantly boost its university sector despite concerns about the quality of tertiary education in the country, which joined the European Union on 1 July, writes Jonathan Dyson for Times Higher Education.

Competition for university places is tougher this year than last, as more secondary school students have achieved the minimum requirements for admission in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exam, writes Johnny Tam for the South China Morning Post.

As Hong Kong high school students received their final school marks last week, Australia's universities touted their main attractions to students at a Hong Kong education trade fair, writes Stephen McDonell for ABC News.

New Zealand’s eight universities have banded together to campaign against the government's proposal to exclude early childhood education from a new postgraduate qualification, writes Jody O’Callaghan for

Three Fijian universities signed an agreement establishing the Pacific Islands Universities Research Network last week, writes Daniel Naidu for The Fiji Times Online. Comprising 11 universities from around the Pacific, the network hopes to improve communication and collaboration between Pacific Island universities.

Academics are hitting the road for the promise of big money in the private and public sectors, write Nashira Davids and Philani Nombembe for Times Live. The trend has prompted a study by Higher Education South Africa, the vice-chancellors’ association.

Critics of US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, expected to be appointed the next president of the University of California, say that she has few academic credentials. Yet over the past 40 years the presidents who've made the greatest advances for institutions have disproportionately been ex-politicians, writes Albert R Hunt for Bloomberg.

When the Supreme Court ruled against patenting human genes, Ambry Genetics began offering women a test for BRCA genes, which are linked to breast cancer. But last week, Myriad Genetics, the firm that has enjoyed a de facto monopoly on BRCA tests in recent years, sued – in conjunction with two universities – writes Timothy B Lee for The Washington Post.
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